Tamil Nadu authorities seize gold smuggled from Sri Lanka

The authorities in Tamil Nadu seize gold smuggled from Sri Lanka, the Times of India reported.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 32.249kg of gold worth Indian Rs 10.21 crore in the last 24 hours from Chennai.

Of this, 24kg of gold was seized from a mansion in Mannady in north Chennai area, a senior DRI official said.

Six persons, part of a well-oiled racket, were arrested under the Customs Act by the DRI.

The operation started on Tuesday evening when a man found to have received a heavy package in one of the bylanes of Mannady was apprehended. The package had 12.149kg of gold, which was admittedly smuggled in from Sri Lanka.

Pursuing this lead, the DRI kept a close watch on the mansion at Mannady, where a major transaction was supposed to take place. On Wednesday morning, the DRI sleuths noticed a man coming out of the mansion and hand over a packet in a shopping bag to another person on a two-wheeler. When the two were caught, they admitted to having received 12kg of gold, smuggled from Sri Lanka, from a third person who had arrived at the mansion from Tuticorin.

When the mansion was searched, a woman who had arrived from Tuticorin by an overnight bus admitted to carrying the gold and handing it over to an intermediary staying at the mansion.

The handler, who was in-charge of giving the smuggled gold to carriers on two-wheelers on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, was also apprehended.

Simultaneously, late on Tuesday, the DRI officers also searched an overnight private bus from Keelakarai to Chennai based on a tip that a passenger would be carrying gold. A total of 8.1kg of gold was recovered from the baggage of that person, who was found to be another carrier.

The DRI said that in 2017-18, more than 105kg of gold smuggled into India from Sri Lanka had been seized by the agency.

“The areas most vulnerable to smuggling are stretches from Tiruchendur to Rameswaram and Rameswaram to Vedaranyam. Smuggling is done using country boats and small fishing boats,” a DRI officer said.

The gold is then brought to Chennai through private buses, cars and even trains. Majority of it is absorbed by gold merchants in north Chennai, say sources in the agency. (Colombo Gazette)

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